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Tainted

Did the largest natural gas producer in America buy our PA attorney general and help him become governor? Sure looks like it. Will Bunch at the Daily News:

IN THE OIL-AND-GAS business, it’s called a wildcat well – when a prospector takes a big risk drilling deep in an unexplored area.

In 2004, a flamboyant Oklahoma City multimillionaire took out his hefty checkbook for what you could call the political equivalent of a wildcat well – and he struck a gusher, right here in Pennsylvania.

The $450,000 in campaign checks that energy mogul Aubrey McClendon wrote that fall helped elect a man he said he’d never even met – a relatively obscure GOP candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general, Tom Corbett.

That investment arguably changed not just the history but also the political direction of the state. The influx of cash helped Corbett narrowly win the closest attorney general’s race in Pennsylvania history and propelled him toward the governor’s mansion, where he has now pledged to turn the Keystone State into “the Texas of the natural-gas boom.”
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Kabuki

Digby, reacting to a report that the Republicans were holding out over 17% in tax increases:

Gosh, I sure do hope that the President can hold tough and get that whole 17% in tax increases or it will make the Democrats look like they really got screwed in this deal.

See what’s happening here? They aren’t having any trouble agreeing to trillions of dollars in spending cuts, are they? The talks aren’t breaking down over that. It’s the measly little tax increases on some luxury goods for millionaires that they are now pretending to haggle over. The rest of the “deal” is just fine with both parties.

Believe me these Republicans are not going to crash the global economy over some tax loopholes for jet travel. Maybe they genuinely don’t want to give Obama this band-aid and maybe Obama will hold out for it and get it. Or not. But who cares? I think it’s pretty clear that the debt ceiling is going to be raised as a result of a deal that cuts trillions of dollars worth of spending from the federal government at a time of 9.1% unemployment and an economy that is slowing. The “win” they are building up here (and alleged capitulation by the Republicans) is a joke.

Los Alamos

I’m sure everything’s just fine. They would tell us if it wasn’t, right?

One of the top nuclear weapons research facilities in the US will remain closed until Thursday as fire fighters battle a wildfire raging at its boundary.

Only “essential-duties” staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory will be permitted on site on Wednesday.

Officials at the New Mexico facility have said they detected “no off-site releases of contamination”.

The town outside the laboratory in the state of New Mexico was evacuated on Monday as the fire raged nearby.

Officials said the nuclear facilities faced “no immediate threat” but warned of damage to houses.

[..] The blaze was said to be as close as 50ft (15m) away from the grounds of the lab on Tuesday afternoon, raising fears it could reach a cache of 30,000 drums, each containing 55 gallons (208 litres) of plutonium-contaminated waste.

The fire had reached the lab’s southwestern boundary and leapt a state road onto the land, burning roughly an acre, state fire officials said.

“The concern is that these drums will get so hot that they’ll burst,” Joni Arends, executive director of the Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, told the Associated Press news agency.

“That would put this toxic material into the plume,” she added.

But officials said there was very little risk of the fire actually reaching the lab’s facilities and that workers were standing near the waste drums to coat them with fire-resistant foam if the blaze got too close.

Oh, well then! You shouldn’t be too upset about this additional information:

Officials insist explosive materials on the laboratory’s grounds are safely stored in underground bunkers made of concrete and steel. But the group, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, told the Associated Press that the fire appeared to be about 3.5 miles from a dump site where as many as 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste were stored in fabric tents above ground. The group said the drums were awaiting transport to a low-level radiation dump site in southern New Mexico.

The brain on trial

Fascinating piece in the Atlantic.

Devilish man

Haley Bonar:

Run the world (girls)

Beyonce:

I wish it would rain

This morning’s “rain” lasted about five minutes. Grrr! The Tempts:

That which must not be named

Cliff Lee is doing that thing against the Red Sox right now. You know the one I mean. Just don’t say it.

Go sign

Bernie Sander’s letter to Obama.

Dumb

David Dayen explains the likely deficit deal, and why it’s so bad for Democrats.

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